Show Details

Sizing Up Dogs II

December 30, 2016

A listener asks whether it’s true that large dogs don’t live as long as small dogs.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
The lifespan of dogs…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Listener Matthew Atkins of Culpepper, Virginia wrote to ask whether it’s true that large dogs don’t live as long as small dogs. We consulted University of British Columbia canine expert Stanley Coren.

STANLEY COREN (University of British Columbia):
Smaller dogs generally speaking live longer than larger dogs. The dogs that have the shortest lifespan are the super giant dogs. When we make them bigger, we’re fiddling with certain genes, and probably the organs are just not really up to supplying that large of a body.

HIRSHON:
But he says there are some exceptions. Flat-faced dogs like pugs and Pekingese have a harder time breathing and are more susceptible to infections. And some tiny dogs like Chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers are just too small, and also have shorter lifespans. And if you have a science question, give us a call at 1-800-why-isit. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.